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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

From the 1880s till 1930, the global grain trade was regulated primarily by the London Corn Trade Association, a private body entirely controlled by core market insiders. It had three defining contributions: it produced grain standards, which transformed cereals into commodities; it arbitrated disputes between traders; and it drafted some sixty standard contracts that were minutely adjusted to both the trading rules in exporting countries and to standard contracts for shipping, insurance, and trade credit. These transnational contractual vehicles drastically simplified the successive operations of international trade along the whole value chain. Critically, while the contracts were governed by English law and protected by the London courts, they entirely avoided any relations with other national legal orders or jurisdictions. Conflicts of laws, a perennial source of transaction costs in a global economy, were by and large eschewed by means of a private market order that was both local and global.

Keywords: commodity market, produce standardization, arbitration, standard contracts, English law, first global era, private market ordering

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